Monday, February 07, 2011

Countdown - Bill C-474

There's so much going on in the GMO world right now. All a-flutter about GM Alfalfa down south, and tomorrow there's the final debate on Bill C-474, with the vote on February 9.

If you're Canadian, it's worth writing your MP. CBAN makes it easy...

And if you're interested in knowing more about why it's worth trying to protect our organic and non-GM growers, there are good reasons why you as a consumer might not want to be eating genetically modified foods. Or exporting them elsewhere.

Because there is no mandatory labelling of GM foods in this country, at the moment your only option not to eat genetically modified foods in Canada is to buy organic .

And here's why organics might be worth your investment, excerpt from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine’s Position Paper on GMOs (from May, 2009):
Natural breeding processes have been safely utilized for the past several thousand years. In contrast, "GE crop technology abrogates natural reproductive processes, selection occurs at the single cell level, the procedure is highly mutagenic and routinely breeches genera barriers, and the technique has only been used commercially for 10 years."

Despite these differences, safety assessment of GM foods has been based on the idea of "substantial equivalence" such that "if a new food is found to be substantially equivalent in composition and nutritional characteristics to an existing food, it can be regarded as safe as the conventional food." However, several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.
According to Dr. Arpad Pusztai,who exposed risks to the immune system associated with GM potatoes, “it's not the foreign gene that's added to a food product or animal hybrid that is dangerous - these things taken on their own had little to no effect - but it's the entire process of changing the genes that creates the problem” (quoted last March). And that’s the outcome on which we’re gambling our health and that of our children.

The other thing to remember about genetically-modified foods is that they're not developed for better flavour or nutritional qualities. They're developed to tackle weeds by making the patented seeds resistant to a patented pesticide, the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). So that means that when you eat genetically-modified foods, you are consuming foods produced with ever-increasing amounts of pesticides, which are proving ever less effective.

We have Monsanto’s assurance that glyphosate is not harmful to us. Curiously, it’s been deemed safe for us to eat, but is labelled a groundwater contaminant and is toxic to fish and marine life. I can’t help but wonder what long-term effect will it have if it reaches human digestive systems through seafood or groundwater?

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4:42 a.m.  

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